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Apple trying to stop sale of Steve Jobs action figure

post #1 of 73
Thread Starter 
Apple's legal team has set its sights on preventing a new lifelike figurine, designed to look like late Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs, from being sold for $99.

The 12-inch figurine was set for release in February from Chinese company Icons, but according to The Telegraph, Apple has issued a "legal challenge." Lawyers from Apple have reportedly threatened to sue the toy maker if they proceed with their plans to sell the action figure.

The retail price of the plastic doll is $99, though reseller prices through eBay have been around $135. The figurine comes with a pair of black socks, glasses, a leather belt, a bar stool, a "One More Thing" backdrop, and two apples, with a bite taken out of one of them.

"The legal wrangle is over the likeness of the doll to the late Apple founder, the rights of which the company claims it owns," the report said. "Apple reportedly stipulates in a letter to the Chinese manufacturer that any toy resembles the technology company's logo, person's name, appearance, or likeness of its products is a criminal offence."

The latest spat isn't the first time Apple's legal team has gotten involved in a figurine depicting Jobs. In December of 2010, Apple shut down sales of a miniature statue depicting Jobs holding an iPhone and standing atop an Apple logo.




That item became so popular that owners turned to eBay to sell the figurine at marked up prices. But Apple intervened in those sales as well, and stopped the sale of one for $1,125.

Unlike the previous figurine, the new plastic toy out of China is a pose-able action figure. Promotional images show it delivering a keynote, sitting on a stool, pointing, and doing other well-known poses done by Jobs in real life.
post #2 of 73
I like this one a lot more than the chibi-headed caricature one.

And it's not skinny Steve, so it's quite respectful.
post #3 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

I like this one a lot more than the chibi-headed caricature one.

And it's not skinny Steve, so it's quite respectful.

Still, over a hundred dollars and probably only a ten percent chance of ever receiving one if you order.
post #4 of 73
wait, Apple "owns" the likeness of Steve Jobs?
post #5 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShaolinDave View Post

wait, Apple "owns" the likeness of Steve Jobs?

Most likely Steve does and passed it down in his Estate with Apple acting as legal counsel.
post #6 of 73
I find that distasteful and disrespectful to the late Mr Jobs; but how can it possibly be a criminal offense? Surely no low can prohibit making images resembling anyone that ever lived?
post #7 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShaolinDave View Post

wait, Apple "owns" the likeness of Steve Jobs?

Actually, I think they* do in California law, at least for 70 years or so.

*or his family/assigned heirs
post #8 of 73
I have to agree with Apple's legal stance here, it's quite annoying to see people making money off someone's death (like Sony releasing songs MJ never wanted released).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Still, over a hundred dollars and probably only a ten percent chance of ever receiving one if you order.

Lol, 10 percent? A bit optimistic.
post #9 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDoppio View Post

I find that distasteful and disrespectful to the late Mr Jobs; but how can it possibly be a criminal offense? Surely no low can prohibit making images resembling anyone that ever lived?

Many public figures own their voice or likeness, including Mark Hamill, Alec Guiness, James Earl Jones, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steve Jobs, and a slew of others. It is how they make their money, and it is more inherently their own than anything else. I second the notion that Jobs' likeness shouldn't be cheapened or cashed in on.
post #10 of 73
cool, the action figure has "kung-fu grip"
post #11 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by CGJ View Post

I have to agree with Apple's legal stance here, it's quite annoying to see people making money off someone's death.

I don't think anyone is making money off his death by doing this - the action figure that was previously sold was offered while he was alive and there was high demand then as well.

I also don't see how making an accurate likeness can be construed as disrespectful. If anything, it's a tribute to his influence and importance.
post #12 of 73
I applaud Apple's action if for no other reason than to help mini-Steve avoid the same awful fate as my niece's Barbie dolls: headless and covered with dog teeth marks.

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post #13 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slang4Art View Post

<...>It is how they make their money<...>

All right, then. Everyone needs to make a living somehow.
post #14 of 73
I need a Steve action figure to sit on top of my iMac. I could imagine Steve telling me, "That paragraph sucks! Write it again!"
Please don't be insane.
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post #15 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDoppio View Post

All right, then. Everyone needs to make a living somehow.

In a future where avatars and biomechanics become the norm, these types of laws will only become more important. If someone made a sex doll of your mother and offered it for sale, it'd likely offend you. Steve Jobs and his family have the same rights to protect their own image. Cry about it if you wish.
post #16 of 73
Responding to the Kung Fu Grip malfunctioning, Apple's official reaction is...

You're holding it wrong.

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post #17 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slang4Art View Post

In a future where avatars and biomechanics become the norm, these types of laws will only become more important. If someone made a sex doll of your mother and offered it for sale, it'd likely offend you. Steve Jobs and his family have the same rights to protect their own image. Cry about it if you wish.

Some twisted imagination there... I do find it offensive though... and some would even find it against their religion... but building idols has been and remains a primitive need for some people.
post #18 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

I need a Steve action figure to sit on top of my iMac. I could imagine Steve telling me, "That paragraph sucks! Write it again!"

Brilliant!
post #19 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDoppio View Post

Some twisted imagination there... I do find it offensive though... and some would even find it against their religion... but building idols has been and remains a primitive need for some people.

Biomechanics and digital avatars aren't really products of my imagination. You do realize you're posting on a tech forum, right? Then again, I think you're just looking for an asinine argument, not a logical discussion of the laws or their reasoning. So, please, don't put words in my mouth, or intentionally misconstrue what I wrote. There is nothing inherently right or wrong about technology, only the choices that people make in its usage.

Or by twisted imagination did you just mean the blow up doll idea?
post #20 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by VinitaBoy View Post

Actually, I think they* do in California law, at least for 70 years or so.

*or his family/assigned heirs

I see Einstein photos all over the place in ads. His likeness is owned by a University in Jerusalem and a law firm in California enforces the licensing. I'm sure it is similar with Jobs.

BTW What's with the belt on the action figure? Is Levi Strauss going to get in on the trademark violation?

I haven't seen a photo of the back pocket yet?

Edit: found it. Classic Levi back pocket of course. And also New Balance shoes.

http://www.inicons.com/images/bg_1.jpg

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post #21 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShaolinDave View Post

wait, Apple "owns" the likeness of Steve Jobs?

I wouldn't be terribly surprised to find out that Apple has a patent on wearing jeans and black turtle necks.
post #22 of 73
Creepiest picture and figure ever. Looks like he's gonna rape you.

If you buy a $99 figurine... ummmm

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post #23 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Porchland View Post

I wouldn't be terribly surprised to find out that Apple has a patent on wearing jeans and black turtle necks.

So, with CGI and voice modulation getting to the point where you can easily misrepresent or reproduce anyone's likeness in a short amount of time, is it really about Apple being unreasonable? Anyone is free to protect their own image if they can demonstrate that it is able to make money. Confound this capitalist notion of fair market practices.

The fact that it offends so many people, who obviously just want a Steve Jobs doll, shows that it makes sense to protect the copyright. Also, as others will also point out, if Apple doesn't protect the likeness, even in relatively harmless scenarios such as this, they lose the copyright altogether. You are required by law to protect your patent and copyright portfolio. Imagine if they did not, and you had a defamatory or unfair representation of Jobs next. Or a figure that you do respect. Disagree all you want, but it's the law. Write your lawmakers if it bothers you so much.
post #24 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShaolinDave View Post

wait, Apple "owns" the likeness of Steve Jobs?

Yep .

California (if not the US) is VERY hip to the idea of people owning the rights to use their face, name etc, especially people who are celebrities. It prevents things like someone using a voice or a face in an ad for something that person wouldn't support like a Pro Abortion candidate when said person is Pro Choice. This is important because the association via being in the ad, just as a voice, implies support.

Steve could have requested that after his death Apple legal handle his usage rights for his estate, could have given all rights not previously given to Apple perhaps even as a Trademark etc. Lots of possible ways to do it. And it makes sense given the long association. Lots of photos etc have his image and it protects Apple from some nefarious person claiming they can't use that image of Steve because the Estate owns it.

In fact here's a juicy tidbit of the law here in Cali. Outside of news, if you are filmed and you didn't give permission you can sue for illegal use of your image. That's why you will sometimes see those signs up that say things like "Filming in progress in this area. If you enter you are giving permission for the use of your image with no legal recourse." The other way around it is that they keep everything blurred, like in cars that are going buy. Because you have to be able to use without any doubts that it is most definitely you and "i was there and I drive a red car just like that one" isn't enough if your face is a featureless color blur

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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post #25 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

Yep .

California (if not the US) is VERY hip to the idea of people owning the rights to use their face, name etc, especially people who are celebrities. It prevents things like someone using a voice or a face in an ad for something that person wouldn't support like a Pro Abortion candidate when said person is Pro Choice. This is important because the association via being in the ad, just as a voice, implies support.

Steve could have requested that after his death Apple legal handle his usage rights for his estate, could have given all rights not previously given to Apple perhaps even as a Trademark etc. Lots of possible ways to do it. And it makes sense given the long association. Lots of photos etc have his image and it protects Apple from some nefarious person claiming they can't use that image of Steve because the Estate owns it.

Thanks for the common sense.
post #26 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple's legal team has set its sights on preventing a new lifelike figurine, designed to look like late Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs, from being sold for $99.

I can't see anything offensive about it, and unless Apple plans to release its own version, I can't see how it intrudes on, or damages, Apple's business. Rather the opposite, in the form of indirect free advertising.

Then again, perhaps they are worried about lots of images or videos involving the figure in amusingly disrespectful poses going viral.
post #27 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slang4Art View Post

Many public figures own their voice or likeness, including Mark Hamill, Alec Guiness, James Earl Jones, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steve Jobs, and a slew of others. It is how they make their money, and it is more inherently their own than anything else. I second the notion that Jobs' likeness shouldn't be cheapened or cashed in on.

This is something that is really common for movie stars as they make their living off of their image. I'm pretty sure that in most western countries you don't even have to file paperwork on it as it's assumed that you have the right to control your own image.

It doesn't technically apply to other public figures like politicians businessmen etc. as they don't explicitly make money off of their image, voice etc.

It's totally possible to leave something in your will or arrange with lawyers beforehand that a particular entity (in this case Apple) has sole rights to that image after your death however and that's likely what Steve Jobs has done as he was a pretty smart guy and able to anticipate stuff like this.

If Steve Jobs hasn't made any explicit arrangements however, his likeness is fair game and useable by all. If this wasn't the case, political satire (amongst other things), would be impossible. Apple has to have some kind of signed agreement to argue what they do, but it's almost certain that they do.
post #28 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I see Einstein photos all over the place in ads. His likeness is owned by a University in Jerusalem ...

How ironic is that considering Einstein was famously anti-Zionist and actually against the foundation of Israel.
post #29 of 73
That is one creeeeepy doll. Of course, I must have one for my fan episode of Robot Chicken

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post #30 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

That is one creeeeepy doll. Of course, I must have one for my fan episode of Robot Chicken

If you could look through his bionic eye and push a button on his back to make his bionic arm go up I'd buy one in a heartbeat.
post #31 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

This is something that is really common for movie stars as they make their living off of their image. I'm pretty sure that in most western countries you don't even have to file paperwork on it as it's assumed that you have the right to control your own image.

It doesn't technically apply to other public figures like politicians businessmen etc. as they don't explicitly make money off of their image, voice etc.

It's totally possible to leave something in your will or arrange with lawyers beforehand that a particular entity (in this case Apple) has sole rights to that image after your death however and that's likely what Steve Jobs has done as he was a pretty smart guy and able to anticipate stuff like this.

If Steve Jobs hasn't made any explicit arrangements however, his likeness is fair game and useable by all. If this wasn't the case, political satire (amongst other things), would be impossible. Apple has to have some kind of signed agreement to argue what they do, but it's almost certain that they do.

To exclude the notion that Steve Jobs likeness and voice won't at some point be a source of income is presumptive. But yes, there are obviously subtleties in the law. If the doll was a caricature, Apple would probably not be able to do much. This doll, like the bobble head's face, are very realistic renderings. I'm inclined to think that distinction matters, but if anyone more familiar with these laws has input, I'd be interested to hear it.
post #32 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

How ironic is that considering Einstein was famously anti-Zionist and actually against the foundation of Israel.

Opens the flood gates for crass stereotypical humor.
post #33 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

How ironic is that considering Einstein was famously anti-Zionist and actually against the foundation of Israel.

The rights were originally inherited by his heirs who later donated them to the university.

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post #34 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

In fact here's a juicy tidbit of the law here in Cali. Outside of news, if you are filmed and you didn't give permission you can sue for illegal use of your image. That's why you will sometimes see those signs up that say things like "Filming in progress in this area. If you enter you are giving permission for the use of your image with no legal recourse." The other way around it is that they keep everything blurred, like in cars that are going buy. Because you have to be able to use without any doubts that it is most definitely you and "i was there and I drive a red car just like that one" isn't enough if your face is a featureless color blur

Personally, I wonder how sites like TMZ can get away with filming/photographing celebrities (and their spouse/children) without their consent, and then making money from their 'appearance'. If non-celebrities have to give permission or be warned, how can people like Harvey Levin make a profit without a celebrity's consent?

Sorry, off topic...
post #35 of 73
I am back!!! I'm not gonna let any disgusting Fandroids get the best of me! I figure that I will keep posting here and if I get any further infractions, then they will just have to pile up until I exceed the limit and I am banned. I am ok with that. Fandroids will never win! And anybody making any snide comments towards me or ad hominem attacks which are against the rules of this forum will immediately have their posts reported, as I don't take kindly to any douchebags who don't follow the rules. The bottom line is that Android still sucks, it's always sucked and nobody should be afraid to state that.

As for the topic in this thread, I ordered one of these a couple of days ago, I hope that I get it in Feb. The figure looks so damn cool and realistic and I will put it next to my collection of old Macs, it will fit in perfectly there, resting on top of one of the old machines.

post #36 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockarollr View Post

Brilliant!

And the worst part about it is he'd probably be right.
Please don't be insane.
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post #37 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

I need a Steve action figure to sit on top of my iMac. I could imagine Steve telling me, "That paragraph sucks! Write it again!"

That idea is sh!t! You're an idiot!

Sorry, the action figure on my machine typed that - I cleared him away from the keyboard! (Don't listen to him, I think a talking action figure would be fantastic!)
post #38 of 73
Busts, Statues, Paintings... Iconography has followed the famous for centuries.
post #39 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slang4Art View Post

Opens the flood gates for crass stereotypical humor.

How's that? Unlike Newton Einstein had no connection to an Apple.
post #40 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bloodshotrollin'red View Post

How's that? Unlike Newton Einstein had no connection to an Apple.

Einstein appeared in an Apple ad. You can Google the query Einstein Think Different.

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